Saturday, May 7, 2011

JIFF 2011 Part Four - Please Refrain From Kissing The Director

For Other JIFF 2011 posts please click here.

JIFF 2011
Spiderman, patron saint of film festivals everywhere.

I popped back to the festival open area I had visited the day before and picked up a couple of dvds from a stall. Lindsay Anderson’s If with Korean subtitles and Kamome Diner, a Japanese drama set in Finland. Then off to Megabox for film number six.

JIFF 2011
JIFF art on display.

달팽이의 별 (Planet of Snail) is a Korean documentary dealing with the life of a deaf-blind man and his diminutive wife, showing how they communicate with each other and their friends. It’s an uplifting hour and a half and the director Yi Seung-jun tries to show us what it must be like to live in this world of no sound or light. A touching story of how normal life can come out of unusual circumstances.

JIFF 2011
Coffee and Kidlat.

Feeling warm and fuzzy, I skipped down the slightly wet road, watched from a distance as Crying Nut warmed up for that night’s concert and then made my way to a hanok cafe for a cup of organic fair-trade coffee and a chance for my brain to cope with two days worth of sensory overload.

JIFF 2011
Kayagum wires strung across Hanok beams.

JIFF 2011
Quite possibly the best coffee house in Jeonju.

Then coffee consumed, I braced myself for the final film of my festival experience: Lee Myung-se’s 인정사정 볼 것 없다 (Nowhere to Hide).

I saw this film for the first time back in 2004 on DVD and fell in love with it. An artistic action film that experiments with image and form whilst thrilling, chilling, making you laugh and keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Back in CGV for the second time, I sat down and prepared myself. Then Lee Myung-se came and sat in front of me. Directly in front of me. Lee Myung-se was sitting directly in front of me! I kept my cool, I refrained from kissing his tiny bald head and waited for the movie to begin.

JIFF 2011
The back of Lee Myung-se's head...

Nowhere to Hide remains one of my favourite films and it has improved with age... sort of... let me explain. Seven years ago when I first saw the film I was a foolish young boy who had only been in Korea four years, my Korean was rudimentary and I relied on subtitles to enjoy Korean films. Fast forward to last weekend and I was surprised by how funny the film was, the Korean audience helped, but I realized that I understood the jokes and language play. It makes me happy that I’m able to appreciate Korean language films more deeply, that as my language skills improve I’m able to immerse myself more fully and understand more and more of the subtleties of language. In the words of Charlie Sheen “I’m winning”... Fortunately Lee Myung-se was also “winning” and the audience loved watching Nowhere to Hide. Most stayed for the hour long talk afterwards and if I have the time and inclination I’ll divulge some juicy details in a later post.

JIFF 2011
Cine Talk with Lee Myung-se.

I left the cinema at 11.30 thoroughly exhausted, but very happy with my first experience of the Jeonju International Film Festival. Back to the motel of doom, a can of beer, the red tinted windows, the circular love bed and the promise of a few hours of sleep.

JIFF 2011
This butterfly represents my feelings toward Lee Myung-se.

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